Antennas Direct ClearStream 2V is big and ugly, at least to most. But if all other indoor antenna options fail, it's your best bet for getting free over-the-air TV without resorting to a rooftop antenna.
It leaves smaller antennas in the dust. It comes as no surprise that this big antenna pulls in signals that are simply out of reach for more petite competitors. The Solid Signal Blog tests the ClearStream 2V against the Solid Signal HD-Blade (Est. $30) -- a Solid Signal-made flat antenna that's very similar in looks and performance to the Mohu Leaf (Est. $40) -- and finds that the 2V performs much better, even when mounted in a less-than-ideal orientation considering its somewhat directional design. User reviews at Amazon.com and BestBuy.com are ample and largely positive -- more than 90 percent of the nearly 170 owners posting at BestBuy.com say they would recommend the ClearStream 2V to a friend.
Maybe your friends and loved ones will think it's a modern sculpture. Speaking realistically, you need to really want to have an indoor antenna for TV reception to consider the ClearStream 2V a welcome addition to your viewing room. Its large size (20 by 35.5 by 6.5 inches) is impossible to miss in plain sight, though if luck is with you, you may be able to tuck it behind a piece of furniture or your TV. If you don't need VHF coverage where you live, you may prefer the cleaner look and narrower dimensions of the original ClearStream 2 (Est. $80) , which omits the VHF dipole, though you won't save significant money opting for it and could wind up paying more. If outdoor mounting is a possibility, the ClearStream 2V is built to withstand such use. Another popular alternative is to mount this antenna in an attic.
It's a balancing act. For the money, no other TV antenna in its reception class performs better. However, there are certainly trade-offs in terms of aesthetics if you are considering using the ClearStream 2V for indoor use. If you live in an area where signals are reasonably strong, a smaller, much easier to hide, and less-expensive antenna such as the Mohu Leaf (Est. $40) or even a plain old rabbit ears and loop antenna such as the RadioShack Budget TV Antenna (Est. $15) could do the trick. In areas where even the ClearStream 2V won't work, your only alternative is to go straight to a large, roof-mounted antenna.
1. The Solid Signal Blog
The Antennas Direct ClearStream 2V is compared to a flat antenna -- the Solid Signal HD-Blade (similar to the Mohu Leaf, Winegard FlatWave FL-5000, etc.). Though the ClearStream 2V is placed in a position that does not maximize its performance, it clearly pulled in more signals.
Review: Hands On with the Antennas Direct ClearStream 2V, Part 2: Indoor Test, "SS@SolidSignal", Oct. 22, 2012
The Antennas Direct ClearStream 2V gets more than 350 reviews here, and a strong 4.6-star score. Happy owners outweigh those who are disappointed by a wide margin. Many of the posters here say that they use the antenna indoors or in the attic.
Review: Antennas Direct C2-V-CJM ClearStream 2-V Long Range UHF/VHF Indoor/Outdoor DTV Antenna with 20-Inch Mount, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of November 2013
There are fewer reviews here than at Amazon.com, but satisfaction is similar (4.4 stars overall). More than 90 percent recommend the ClearStream 2V.
Review: Antennas Direct - ClearStream 2V Long-Range HDTV Antenna, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of November 2013